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volume 1, issue 30

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Thinking Outside the Box:
Character Studio (part 2)

By Paul "Villam" Steed


Now let’s look at where we are so far with the mesh and test out the motion of the attached geometry thus far. First freeze the head objects (not the bip head) and the torso. Normally I just hit ‘h’ and bring up a hit list of things to select and pick from the list.

Moving the head around I decide that I want to make the upper vertices of the torso rigid as well since as flexible as they are now, it takes away from the upper body’s look of rigidity.

So unfreeze the torso. Select it. Go back into the vertex sub-object menu of Physique. Select the vertices at the top of the mesh (doesn’t matter if the locked vertices are selected, too) and go through the same steps as above, assigning and locking these verts into a rigid state linking them to the first spine segment.

Now turning the bip head does nothing to the torso since you’ve removed the influence of anything but the spine on the vertices of the torso. Let’s move on to the arms. But, first I have to address the fact I don’t have him with his arms in a jumping jack pose that you normally see with meshes prior to bones or biped attachment. This is basically through experience with shoulder pads and the foreknowledge that I’ll be assigning vertices manually anyway. Shoulder pads are sort of problematic just because of the cantankerous shoulder assembly. I learned that in our project, the characters are going to have their arms down holding a weapon 95% of the time so doing the arms like this is no big deal. Another reason is that Kenneth Scott, our skinner prefers it that way since he can more easily line up the UV’s in his texture program so that the arms are mirrored. So onward…

Select the left arm.

Go into the vertex sub-object menu of Physique and select all the vertices.

Cool. We have red and burgundy and blue…BLUE? What the hell does blue mean? Blue means BAD, boys and girls. Bad, bad, bad. Here’s what blue vertices mean…

Means those particular vertices aren’t attached to anything because I made the doom guy have a permanent middle finger for a skeleton digit. This means that when I initialized the mesh with Physique the volume of the finger bone wasn’t great enough to include those blue vertices – nor was any other bone of the biped. But that’s easy enough to fix. Let’s manually assign the vertices of the arm starting with the fingers and work our way up (personally, I like to start at the toes and work my way up – mmm, Bath & Body, Bath & Body…Raspberry? No, Peach…) uh…I digress.

Select the vertices of the end of the fingers, make them rigid, link and lock them to the finger (c’mon, you remember…)

Then go up the hand but leave the wrist, do the same, amigo…

Now select the wrist and assign it to the hand but give them a red ‘deformable’ vertex assignment.

Now, do what we probably should’ve done from the beginning of messing with the arm and hide everything but the damn arm and biped counterpart. That done let’s just be a little risky and see how the arm is shaping up by bending it at the elbow…

Not bad, but it just goes to show the benefits of individual vertex assignment. Specifically here, here, here and here…


(Continued on next page)

Credits: Thinking Outside the Box logo illustrated and is © 1999 Dan Zalkus. Thinking Outside the Box is © 1999 Paul Steed. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited, so don't even try it. We've got really big guns, and we're ripped, baby.